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JOSEPH 
CORNELL 



THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, NEW YORK 



© 1967, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York 
Library of Congress Card Catalogue Number 67-25057 Printed in the United States of America 



THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM FOUNDATION 



TRUSTEES 



HARRY F\ GUGGENHEIM, PRESIDENT 



ALBERT E. THIELE, VICE PRESIDENT 



H.H. ARNASON, VICE PRESIDENT, ART ADMINISTRATION- 



PETER O. LAWSON-JOHNSTON, VICE PRESIDENT, BI'SIXKSS ADMINISTRATION 



ELEANOR, COUNTESS CASTLE STEWART 



DANA DRAPER 



A. CHAUNCEV NKWLIN 



MRS. HENRY OHRE 



DANIEL CATTON RICH 



MICHAEL F.WETTACH 



MEDLEY G. B. WHELPLET 



CARL ZIGROSSER 



JOSEPH CORNELL cannot properly be called a painter or a sculptor 
for he makes neither paintings nor sculpture. He does make collages 
and boxes and does so with such knowledge and such capacity to have 
earned the designation artist in the fullest sense of this much diluted 
term. As every artist does, Cornell translates his chosen raw material 
into forms and images. Translation here means to raise such materials 
from their commonplace existence to a meaningful state— one within 
which has been lodged a particular awareness so intense as to gain 
the broadest validity. 

Cornell's raw materials in the most general sense are memories from a 
past that will fade away in lifeless archives unless they are rescued 
through a new pertinence. Therefore, Cornell in the first instance is 
an archivist of a vanished age. The rooms of his Long Island house 
are filled with the melancholy mementos of a past era. A veritable paper 
cemetery they are— a sic transit gloria mundi, for great divas and per- 
formers, the brilliant and noble life of sparkling talent and beauty. 
The glitter of an elegant, erudite, graced and gifted elite sleeps in these 
files like an enchanted princess to be redeemed with a kiss. 

If Cornell were nothing but archivist his passion would have chosen the 
hapless method of mumification. But Cornell is archivist with an 
ulterior motive, which is to safeguard the subject matter for his art, 
while as an artist he is above all capable of imbuing inert matter with 
life. His efforts at revivication therefore succeed through that very 
translation into form that Goethe recognized as "the secret of the 
master." Through his process, and in Joseph Cornell's hands, the dated, 
the banal, and the seemingly irrelevant assume contemporary relevance 
and come to life in a new and intensely vital context. 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is presenting 10 collages and 78 
boxes by Joseph Cornell with that sense of privilege that accompanies 
an identification with timely validity. Joseph Cornell who overcame his 
manifest need for seclusion to help with his exhibition is our first object 
of gratitude. The lenders of boxes and collages, separately listed in this 
catalogue, have our sincere appreciation. So does Mrs. Diane Waldman, 
Research Fellow at the Guggenheim, whose familiarity with Cornell's 
work gained over years of devoted study has qualified her to select and 
to present this show. 

Thomas M. Messer, Director 



ACMOWLEDGEMEKTS 



/ am indebted to Mr. Julien Levy. Mr. Donald Windham and Mr. Parker Tyler for information 
and advice that proved invaluable to this exhibition, and to Mrs. Eleanor Ward, Mr. Richard 
Feigen, Mr. Allan Frumkin and Mr. John Myers for providing many useful leads in the initial 
stages of its preparation. My grateful thanks also to Linda Konheim. editor of the catalogue, 
and Orrin Riley for his skillful handling of the installation of this exhibition. 

D. JT. 



LEPERS 



Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Alpers, Los Angeles 

Mr. and Mrs. Howard Barnstone, Houston 

Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago 

Mr. and Mrs. Norman Borisoff, Encino, California 

Sandy M. Campbell, New York 

Mrs. Marcel Duchamp, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Feigen, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Ferber, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Allan Frumkin, New York 

Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection 

Robert L. Isaacson, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Alvin S. Lane, Riverdale, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Maremont, Chicago 

James Merrill, Stonington, Connecticut 

H. Marc Moyens, Alexandria, Virginia 

Mr. and Mrs. Morton G. Neumann, Chicago 

Bernard Pfriem, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis, New York 

Miss Jeanne Reynal, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Shapiro, Oak Park, Illinois 

Mrs. de Menocal Simpson, New York 

Mr. and Mrs. David M. Solinger, New York 

Margot Stewart, New York 

Jon N. Streep, Amsterdam 

Parker Tyler, New York 

Mrs. Eleanor Ward, New York 

Donald Windham, New York 

Richard Feigen Gallery, New York 

The Pace Gallery, New York 

New York University Art Collection, New York 

University of St. Thomas, Jermayne MacAgy Collection, Houston 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 



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II 



JOSEPH CORNELL 



DIANE WALDMAN 



Little is known of Joseph Cornell's early life. Born on Christmas Eve 1903 (the major 
exhibitions of his work have usually been held towards the end of December) at Nyack, New 
York, Cornell attended the Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts. In 1929, he and his 
family moved to Flushing. Queens, to the modest house in which he still lives. A shy and 
reticent man, he is as reluctant to reveal the details of his life as he is to part with one of his 
boxes. The boxes are his progeny; they have engaged in a dialogue with him and with each 
other over the years as, indeed, they speak to us. They were created within the milieu of 
family life— of commonplace living— not in the isolation of a studio. The rhythm of daily life 
—daytime, nighttime, time passing, another day, a change of season— seemed to him like the 
unfolding of life in the Les Tres Riches Heures du Due de Berry. Way back, before the boxes 
began, Cornell recalls the Sunday afternoons, after church, listening to Protestant services 
on the radio, and the great sense of religion within the wonderful warmth of family life. 
During the twenties, Cornell was involved with the life and culture of New York, absorbing 
classical music, going to the opera, and collecting on a small scale, mostly Japanese prints 
and Americana. He speaks of the boxes as having been fashioned of a great love of the city— 
of a city and a time, with its seemingly endless plethora of books and material, that is gone 
now. All of this has been captured in his boxes and given to us, in wave after wave of mem- 
ories, with a pulsating sense of life and as a living presence. 

With little formal art training, most of Cornell's schooling during the early years 
was largely the result of the lively artistic climate that existed in New York during the 
1930's. If the scene was lively, it was also confined, and for lack of a meeting place, many 
of the New York and expatriate European artists would frequent the few avant-garde gal- 
leries then in existence. It was at the Julien Levy Gallery, which opened in 1931. that Cornell 
met most of the painters and writers associated with the Surrealist movement who were 
in the United States prior to and during World War II. The first American exhibition of 
Salvador Dali took place there in December 1933. The next year, for his second exhibition at 
the gallery, Dali arrived in New York to much acclaim, followed by the other leading Surrealists. 

Soon after Cornell first saw Max Ernst's album. La Fenime 100 Tetes, he showed 
his own initial efforts at collage to Julien Levy. These consisted of montages, on cardboard, 
done in the style of Ernst, which Levy included in a Surrealist group show in January 1932. 
For this exhibition, which launched the movement in New York, Cornell designed the cover 
of the catalogue. The exhibition included collages by Ernst, paintings by Dali, Ernst, Picasso, 
Man Ray and others, photographs by Atget, Boiffard. Man Ray. Moholy-Nagy, and George 
Piatt Lynes. and a Man Ray Snowball, a commercial souvenir in the shape of a glass globe. 

Besides the collages, Cornell exhibited a glass bell containing a mannequin's hand 
holding a collage of roses. The glass bell, of course, was a common Victorian decorative 
motif for showing clocks, artificial flowers, or other "bibelots"; the mannequin's hand was a 
standard prop of the Surrealists. The catalogue preface for another Surrealist exhibition, held 



12 



at the Galerie Pierre Colle in June 1933, gives ample evidence of Surrealist obsessions and 
some of Cornell's as well : 

disagreeable objects, chairs, drawings, paintings, manuscripts, 

objects to sniff, surreptitious automatic objects, books, ordinary 

objects, maps, hands, exquisite corpses, palaces, butterflies. 

blackbirds, pharmacies... 1 

Later that year. Julien Levy held an exhibition of Cornell's "Minutiae. Glass Bells, 

Shadow Boxes, Coups d'Oeil, Jouets Surrealistes". Cornell's shadow boxes were all small. 

the largest measuring 5 x 9". They were complemented by thimbles propped on needles; 

small bisque angels and miniscule silver balls placed under small glass bells: and bright 

colored sequins, sewing pins, cut-up engravings of fish and butterflies, colored sand, and 

brass springs moving freely about in small round boxes which resembled compass cases. Both 

the objects and their containers varied only slightly from their original state; they were 

"transformed", in the manner of Duchamp and of the period, with only slight alterations to 

the readymade. All of his objects of this period have several features in common— they are 

small, fragile and modest in ambition— yet there is a particular charm to them. The emphasis 

is on the object, per se, without attempting to situate it within a larger, i.e., a plastic, 

context. 

In 1936 Cornell was included in a major exhibition. Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, 
at The Museum of Modern Art. His Soap Bubble Set, of that same year, is listed in the 
catalogue as a "Composition of objects, 15 Vi x 14%", photographed with additional effects 
by George Piatt Lynes". This arrangement was later regrouped into its present form and 
subsequently acquired by the Wadsworth Atheneum in 1938. In its final form there is a 
reorientation of emphasis in which each of the objects is located both within its own compart- 
ment and in fixed relationship to the others— an early attempt to group these separate objects 
into a coherent unit with a sense of three-dimensional form, scale, and structure new to the 
work. To achieve this, he temporarily abandoned the random movement of the earlier objects. 
Later, the use of movement became subject to greater esthetic control appearing in all phases 
of his work, both literally (Taglionis Jewel Casket, 1940; Multiple Cubes, 1946-48; the Sand 
Fountains and Sandboxes of the fifties) and implicitly (the Medici series, etc). 

Symbols which recur throughout his work appear here for the first time : clay pipes 
(associated with memories of lower New York. Chambers Street, and old houses near the 
water), glasses, engravings, mirrors, maps. The objects lend themselves to a fairly plausible 
interpretation: the egg as the symbol of life; the glass, the cradle of life; the four cylinders 
above are thought to represent his family, and the doll's head, himself. The moon, placed 
above the clay pipe, is both soap bubble and the world, and it controls the tides. In the 
catalogue for his exhibition at the Copley Galleries in 1948, Cornell wrote of the Soap Bubble 
Sets: 

Shadow boxes become poetic theatres or settings wherein are 
metamorphosed the elements of a childhood pastime. The fragile, 
shimmering globules become the shimmering but more enduring 
planets— a connotation of moon and tides— the association of water 
less subtle, as when driftwood pieces make up a proscenium to 
set off the dazzling white of seafoam and billowy cloud crystal- 
lized in a pipe of fancy. 2 
In the same catalogue, Cornell is listed as an American Surrealist, a label which has 



13 




(top) Collage. 1932. (center) Soap Bubble Set. 1936. (bottom) Soap Bubble Set. 1936. Photograph courtesy Wadsworth Atheneum. 




14 



persisted to this day. From the present vantage point, it hardly seems accurate or adequate: 
in its original context and at that time, he did draw his initial source of inspiration and ideas 
from the methods, if not the mannerisms, of the Surrealists. It was the stimulation of their 
presence during the formative years of his career that proved invaluable to him. as it did to 
so many of the younger artists then at work in New York. It is. however, primarily in the 
ideas of the Surrealist poets, rather than the hard-core painters, that we capture the imagery 
of Cornell. 

The Surrealist poets realized that, in order to renovate poetic imagery, it would be 
necessary to free words from their customary role— that of description. The selection of the 
appropriate word, as a symbol, and its illogical juxtaposition with other words would act as 
a stimulus to the senses of the reader and would, in turn, arouse multiple images and associa- 
tions, differing according to individual sensibility. Thus the function of the poem was, to 
Paul Eluard. "donner a voir" (to give sight ) . :! From this followed the Surrealist concept of re- 
vealing the object in its fullest depth by. as Eluard said, stripping it of its accepted roles and 
admitted physical properties, a process which Breton called the "crisis of the object". In 
their efforts to make the dream concrete, the Surrealist poets concerned themselves with de- 
veloping a vocabulary precise in form and color, shape and intent. It was this method 
that brought them close to the technique of the painter. Breton, in speaking of his thirty-word 
poem. Foret-noire. which took him six months to write, said that he had to juggle the words to 
determine their proper associations with each other and with the words that were eliminated 
from the poem but figured in its composition. 4 

The emphasis on the object itself started around 1930: "an 'external object' con- 
stitutes a closed unity resistant to our imagination and our desire to alter it at whim. This 
unity and consistency are the essence of the object— a complex of fantasy and restraint, of 
desire and resistance, which possesses a material substance"/' As Marcel Jean pointed out. the 
German word for object. Gegenstand, literally means counter-stand, resistance. 6 The estrange- 
ment of the object, particularly its separation from the objects generally associated with it. 
became the basic technique of Surrealism. Paul Nouge speaks of the Surrealist as painting the 
"bewildering object and the accidental encounter... by isolating the object ...breaking off its 
ties with the rest of the world... We may cut off a hand and place it on the table or we may 
paint the image of a cut-off hand on the wall". 7 It is noteworthy that the emergence of the 
object coincided with Cornell's beginnings as an artist. Although Giacometti. Dali. Ernst. 
Breton and Tanguy were among the many producers of objects, and both Schwitters and 
Duchamp. the latter with his portable museum, the Green Box of 1934. tended to box con- 
figuration, it was Cornell's selection of the box as a form, in combination with the object, 
which proved a major innovation. It was Cornell who made the box memorable as a realm 
for both a real and imagined existence. 

The first one-man show of Cornell to receive some notice in the press (it is actually 
debatable as to which of the shows, in 1932 or 1939. should be called the first one-man show I 
opened on December 6. 1939 at the Julien Levy Gallery. The press release for the show states 
that his objects "derive from a completely pure subsconcious poetry unmixed with any at- 
tempt to shock or surprise. They are essentially pure creation, no professionalism, no ulterior 
motive but the concrete expression of Cornell's personal lyricism. They are useless for any 
purpose except to delight the eye and everyone's desire for a lovable object...". Art Neivs of 
December 23. 1939. commented: "Much, if not all, is done with mirrors... and the reflections 



15 



which do not have the aid of quick-silver are images drawn from the unconscious". The ob- 
jects were placed in a darkened room; they included... "bubble pipes, thimbles and china 
dolls showered with confetti, in and out of shadow boxes... birds, books and balls suspended 
on strings, and its strange alchemy of bottles, artificial green leaves and bits of broken glass." 
The New York Times of December 10, 1939, mentioned a... "whirling eyeball under a bell 
jar, or a book which is a box in which things slide and kaleidoscope...". There were even 
objects which, like a music box, played tunes. The New York Herald Tribune of December 
10, 1939, described the show as a "holiday toy shop of art for sophisticated enjoyment, and 
intriguing as well as amusing". 

In addition to the pieces on exhibit, Cornell built objects to order, for Christmas 
gifts, incorporating the photograph of the purchaser into the object. Approximately five 
inches high, six inches wide and one inch deep, these "daguerreotypes", forerunners of the 
later sandboxes featured the photo, tinted deep blue or brown, secured against the rear 
wall of the box. Placed over the photo but not touching it was a tinted mirror which Cornell 
cut to silhouette the form in the photograph. Between these two layers, particles of colored 
sand, slivers of glass and tiny seashells created ever-changing patterns as the box was manipu- 
lated. The image of the spectator, trapped in the mirror's reflection, became a part of the 
object, establishing, at an early date, Cornell's awareness of the physical presence of the 
spectator, the relationship between the spectator, the object, and the space between. 

If much of the 1930's was a time of tentative beginnings, the forties was witness to 
a number of major innovations. Characteristic of much of the early years is a feeling for 
Victoriana— for quaint beauties, elegant fabrics and exotic papers— a recapitulation of the 
"objects" of the thirties. Often a work is accompanied by a saying (Francesca de Rimini), 
a poem (Taglioni's Jewel Casket, in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art), descrip- 
tive matter (Cleo de Merode), or some other "leitmotif", or, more rarely, it becomes part of 
the form itself (Memoires inedits de Mme. la Comtesse de G.) . In an effort to secure the 
fleeting, Cornell seems to have wanted to document and annotate, "to make a monument 
to every moment". 8 

In the majority of these early boxes, there is a definite distinction between the con- 
tainer and the contained. Some, like Francesca de Rimini or Swan Lake for Tamara 
Toumanova, resemble his early flat collage assembled in depth. Others are table-top, horizontal 
boxes, often lidded, suggesting a jewel box, a sewing box, a cosmetic case, a place to store 
treasures, a Pandora's box. UEgypte de Mile. Cleo de Merode: Cours Elementaire d'Histoire 
Naturelle is typical of this type. The interior, with its rows of bottles and side compartments, 
recalls the display cases of a museum or a department store. The box, a Victorian oak writing 
or strong box, contains a piece of glass mounted about one and a half inches from the bottom 
which acts as a supporting rack for the bottles. Underneath the glass is a layer of red sand 
with a few broken bits— a small piece of comb, slivers of plain or frosted glass and a por- 
celain doll's hand broken at the elbow. Much of the interior is covered with an ivory paper 
delicately marbled in brown and blue and framed by bands of marbled paper in blue, blue- 
grey, ivory and orange spots. All but one of the glass bottles bear a label and contain different 
objects. A description of one of the bottles gives some idea of its contents: Sauterelles 
(grasshoppers or locusts) contains a cut-out of two camels and bedouins from an old photo- 
graph of the Pyramids and a small green ball, both set in yellow sand. 

Cleo de Merode was a famous ballerina in the 1890's. The goddess Hathor, pictured 



16 



on the inside lid, is the goddess of love, happiness, dancing and music, also goddess of the 
sky. Cleo in the title is also Cleopatra of Egypt. The composition of the box can be paralleled 
to the Egyptian involvement with the tomb and the afterlife, to the custom of securing in the 
tomb the articles most required by the deceased in his life after death, as well as a descrip- 
tion of the individual's life as he lived it on earth. It suggests, as well, the structuring of 
life into registers on the wall reliefs of the tombs. Simultaneously, the objects offer clues 
to the essence and mystery of Woman, whether Cleo de Merode or Cleopatra. 

The transition from this work to the masterpiece of the early forties, the Medici Slot 
Machine of 1942. is both rapid and profound in its implications. The image of the young boy. 
Moroni's Portrait of a Young Prince of the Este Family, in the Walters Art Gallery. Baltimore, 
is viewed as if through a gun-sight or lens, telescoping both near and far distances simultane- 
ously. The spiral at his feet evokes multiple associations: in the natural world, ocean currents 
form a spiral pattern; the growth of many plants is that of a spiral— for example, the way 
rose petals unfold— as is the structure of a chromosome. The spiral, symbolic of life repeating 
itself in a cycle of seasons and a cycle of generations, is also an abstract form, bringing with it 
references to Duchamp and Leonardo. The complex play of imagery, sequentially strung out 
(or spliced) like a series of film clips, with the implication of movement both in time and in 
space, reconstructs the history of a Renaissance prince and juxtaposes these images of his 
imaginary childhood (diagrams of the Palatine fashioned from pieced-together Baedeker 
maps, etc.), with current objects (marbles and jacks) so that the Renaissance child becomes 
a very real and contemporary child, alive and very much in the present. The objects are 
brought into reality with color, while the monochromatic images recede into the past. 

The influence of film techniques on his art. and the actual translation and incorpora- 
tion of its devices into his constructions, was another major innovation which he has developed 
and elaborated on since its early inception in the Medici Slot Machine, and one which has 
proven of enormous significance to many younger artists. Cornell's interest in the films 
originated in the twenties when he. like the Surrealists, found that it offered new possibilities 
of fantasy and illusion, abrupt changes in time, sequence and event, and illogical juxta- 
positions. Cornell made several movies, the earliest in the thirties, by re-editing and collaging 
discarded film clips and occasionally having a sequence shot. In a comment published in View 
magazine, on Hedy Lamarr, a Marilyn Monroe of the day. Cornell wrote of the "Profound 
and suggestive power of the silent film to evoke an ideal world of beauty, to release unex- 
pected floods of music from the gaze of the human countenance in its prison of silver light 
...evanescent fragments unexpectedly encountered". 9 A shy and secluded man. his limited 
travels have permitted him great freedom of the imagination, the ability to lea]) back and 
forth in time, to visualize places, events, and people never seen. His sources, whether movie 
queen or Medici prince, marble or jack, are lifted out of context and placed in a timeless 
world, the world of the dream. The sensation of disorientation, of the unexpected encounters 
between his "objects" recalls de Chirico: 

One must picture everything in the world as an enigma, not only 
the great questions one has always asked oneself— why the world 
was created, why we are born, live and die, for after all, perhaps 
there is no reason in all of this. But rather to understand the 
enigma of things generally considered insignificant, to perceive 
the mystery of certain phenomena of feeling, of the character of 



17 



a people, even to arrive at the point where one can picture the 
creative geniuses of the past as things, very strange things that we 
examine from all sides. 10 
In the Medici Slot Machine, space is cubistically fragmented into small facets which 
co-mingle, separate and fuse again in kaleidoscopic effect. The black lines which crisscross 
the surface act as connective tissue organizing both the multiple images and the several 
spatial levels. This diagrammatic pattern of horizontals and verticals, superimposed on the 
surface rather than functioning as the substructure for the image, creates a sense of order 
and calm that might best be described as early Renaissance. The emphasis on the object as 
a literary symbol, in an earlier work like the Cleo de Merode, gradually gives way to the 
object as both symbol and plastic form, and finds its first realization in the Medici Slot 
Machine. 

The numbers on the side wall of the box refer to the title of the construction and to 
the element of play. Cornell's comments for his Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall, 
exhibited in 1946. reveal his fascination for the game: 

...impressions intriguingly diverse... that, in order to hold fast, 

one might assemble, assort, and arrange into a cabinet. . .the 

contraption kind of the amusement resorts with endless ingenuity 

of effect, worked by coin and plunger, or brightly colored pin-balls 

. . .traveling inclined runways. . . starting in motion compartment 

after compartment with a symphony of mechanical magic of 

sight and sound borrowed from the motion picture art. . .into 

childhood. . .into fantasy. . .through the streets of New York. . . 

through tropical skies. . .etc.. . .into the receiving trays the balls 

come to rest releasing prizes . . - 11 

It would be difficult to imagine a more startling contrast to the elusive and even 

melancholy prince than the Pantry Ballet for Jacques Offenbach of the same year, or the 

later, equally light-hearted Swan Lake for Tamara Toumanova of 1945, or La Favorite of 

1948. Yet they represent a counterpoint to the main body of work, and play an important, 

if subsidiary, role during the 1940's. Here, references to theater abound, whether to the 

stage sets of the theater or ballet or to the court pagentry of Watteau. Delicately frivolous 

in spirit, they also invoke reminiscences of a child's cardboard theater or a fairy tale. 

Red plastic lobsters cavort gaily about with their partners, little silver spoons, while seashells 

and crockery nod in merry enjoyment. Elsewhere, feathers accompany a swan in the midst 

of a performance and sheet music graces the exterior of a box, in which an angel is playing. 

in a world of lyric enchantment. 

For The Crystal Cage: Portrait of Berenice, a series of collages and related 
documents published in the "Americana Fantastica" issue of View magazine of January 
1943. Cornell established in a word portrait of the Pagode de Chanteloupe. a chinoiserie 
of the late nineteenth century, his interests of this and of all times: 

Mozart, sunbursts. Baedeker, Piero di Cosimo, Hans Christian 
Andersen, daguerreotypes, balloon, Edgar Allen Poe, shooting 
stars, Hotel de l'Ange, soap bubbles, solariums, snow, Gulliver, 
Carpaccio, phases of the moon, star-lit field, palaces of light, 
tropical plumage, Liszt, barometers, Queen Mab, owls, magic 



18 




The Crystal Cage. Collage, View Magazine, January 1943. Americana Fantastica. View Magazine, cover, January 1943. 



lanterns, Milky Way, Vermeer, camera obscura, Seurat, Erik 
Satie, calliopes, Gilles, cycloramas, castles, Rimbaud. 12 
It is a world of tender innocence, a world that is replaced in the fifties by a melancholy and 
sophisticated, but still innocent spirit. 

Both the Medici Slot Machine and the Soap Bubble Set of 1936 are ideas that Cornell 
has developed over the years in constructions which are not radically different from their 
original premise. They are a reprise of a theme worked out over many years, in contrast 
to another type— a "theme and variations"— such as the Aviary, Dovecote, and Observatory 
series, which took shape in a relatively short and concentrated time span. Within the first 
category the progression from a Medici boy of the forties to one of the fifties is a distillation 
of a rich and elaborate imagery to one of the utmost simplicity. In the second type of series 
the constructions have a much greater consistency of expression but vary in their imagery 
from construction to construction. A certain amount of confusion has developed with regard 
to the serial elaboration or "duplication" of his boxes and the attendant difficulties of dating. 
The dating problem is admittedly severe but no more so than in the working procedure 
of any artist who returns to his canvases or sculpture and reworks them over a period of 
years. Cornell has transferred this procedure— a continuation of a visual process— from one 
box to another rather than reworking his boxes over and over again (although he does this 
too). The idea of duplication, per se, did not originate with Cornell, for Arp, in 1918-19, 
made a practice of tracing the same drawing over and over again with variations occuring 
automatically. It is a premise contained in Dada (one need only think of Duchamp's Ready- 
mades, and of Surrealist automatism) , if not realized in its fullest sense. The use of the repeti- 
image represents a change in process on the part of the twentieth-century artist ; it is Cornell 
who recognized it as such and gave it its first viable plastic expression. 

His working method offers ample explanation for the impulse propelling the use of 



19 



the repeat: an initial idea is supplemented by "documents"— both original material and notes 
—which takes visual shape after a long period of gestation. Cornell has often spoken of the 
frustrations of the medium and of his ability to encompass all the extra-visual material 
(poetic, emotional and other ephemera) that went into its making. The duplication or 
elaboration of a theme becomes a way of working out of an obsession— a natural consequence 
of the Surrealist belief in taking the inner imagination rather than the outer world as a 
starting point and the multitude of possibilities this suggests. Once brought into existence, 
the boxes appear to act upon one another establishing a familial relationship, through the reit- 
eration of certain objects (driftwood, seashells, cordial glasses, nails, stamps, toy blocks, 
bubble pipes, etc.. and especially photographs and forms— circles, cubes, spirals, arcs) which 
take on added reverberations over the years and establish a physical displacement in time. 

The implications of the repetitive image, which began with the Medici Slot Machine 
in 1942, are given another definition in the Multiple Cubes of 1946-48, one of Cornell's earliest 
explorations into total abstraction, with connotations of both Mondrian's grid paintings and 
Duchamp's readymade, Why not sneeze? of 1921. The photographic images of the Medici 
box are metamorphosed into white wooden cubes which move freely about in their separate 
cubicles, a series of compartments created by a skeleton of horizontal strips bisected by 
smaller vertical ones. This grid structure, an extension of the reticulated black lines super- 
imposed on the Medici boy, functions here in a purely plastic context. 

In these and related constructions, Cornell was undoubtedly influenced by Mondrian, 
whom he knew in New York in the early forties. Robert Motherwell speaks of Mondrian's 
"formulation of color relations and space relations arising from a division of space. He 
uses color and space to communicate feeling. . . a definite and specific and concrete poetry 
breaks through his bars. . . 13 Cornell's works of the fifties bear affinities to Mondrian in their 
classic purity, in their chromatic restriction to white as the predominating color with the 
primaries blue and yellow as important components, and in their breakdown of space. Both 
approach geometry through sensibility, but the differences between the two artists are great. 
Cornell conveys a physical sense of space, in a three-dimensional structure, by overlapping 
planes and the use of diminishing forms. He loves the irregular surface or edge, the curve, 
the sphere; he uses natural and man-made forms and representations of the figure. His boxes 
are infused with a light that goes back beyond Mondrian— to Vemeer, or to Piero della Fran- 
cesca. It appears to be, in Cornell's case, an intuitive process in which he grasped certain 
essentials of Mondrian's art, adapted them to his own needs, and fused them with his own 
highly developed poetic imagery. 

The very narrow depth of the Multiple Cubes prevents too much of a reading in 
space and tends to flatten out a very real depth into a pictorial one. Cornell is a master at 
this sleight-of-hand, for Nouveaux Contes de Fees, of around the same time, restates this 
idea in another context. The pattern of the paper which caresses the surface of the box 
blurs the distinction between the three-dimensional box and the two-dimensional paper. 

In December 1949 Cornell showed twenty-six constructions, based on the Aviary 
theme, at the Egan gallery. These new works "of sunbleached and white-washed boxes 
filled with drawers and birds and little springs and mirrors have a strict honesty, a concen- 
tration on texture and ordering of space..." 14 that continued the direction initiated by the 
Multiple Cubes. The earlier interest in literary detail disappears in favor of an abstract 
arrangement of forms, a play of line, volume and shape that is breathtaking in its beauty and 
simplicity. In these works Cornell moved away from Surrealism in a manner similar to 



20 



that of the Abstract Expressionists who grew out of Surrealism. It is from the time of this 
show that the literary becomes subsumed into the abstract. 

Both Deserted Perch of 1949 and Chocolat Menier are notable for incorporating 
emptiness into the work— the vacuum of an action that has occured. of birds that have flown 
from the cage. The mood of loneliness and futility in Chocolat Menier is established by the 
worn and bare wood, the rusting chain supporting the perch, and the slivers of mirror, 
pitted and chipped away at the edges, waiting to catch the reflection of the departed bird 
and catching, instead, only the reflection of the spectator and another more jagged mirror. In 
a less violent mood, a few feathers in the Deserted Perch suggest the missing bird. Color is 
almost non-existent, kept to small touches in the use of print, string and feathers. The austerity 
of these aviaries is offset by other constructions in which the birds play a lively and 
colorful role. 

Forgotten Game restates the game idea but includes the movement of a ball on a 
runway accompanied by its own sounds as it descends. Cornell was very early in incorpo- 
rating sound, light and movement within the dimensions of a construction. The geometric 
simplicity in the precise repeat of the diminishing circles is offset by the peeling surface 
which surrounds it. recalling old walls. He often speaks fondly of buildings in the process of 
demolition, finding beauty in the fading colors, in the warmth of human association, and in the 
fragments of decay and destruction. In this he echoes Schwitters ; both have a fascination for 
the "found" object, for collecting bits of glass, threads, old papers, labels and other "trivia" 
from life. Cornell's love for remnants of human use. weathering, and craftsmanship is 
incorporated very sparingly into his consructions, organized into formal relationships by 
means of compartments and the use of one predominating color— usually white. 

Compared with the "Aviary" theme, the works of 1950-53 (Observatories. Night Skies. 
Hotels) are richer, more sensual and more painterly, while retaining the haunting and poetic 
mood of the bird cages. These are hotel lobbies such as Colette might write about, and yet 
they are not literary. They have both a great clarity of image, a dreamstate of unreality, of 
atmosphere and emotion. The surfaces are coated with thick white paint. Placed with an 
impeccable sense of order are glasses, shattered and whole, wire mesh, mirrors, labels of far- 
away places, and sky charts. Into an aperture cut into the rear wall, Cornell often places 
astrological maps which revolve and change their image, or windows looking out on star- 
studded skies. Subtle placements of pilasters, columns, columnettes, windows and mirrors 
convey a shorthand version of deep Renaissance perspective, of the kind one might apprehend 
from an illustration of a Renaissance monument rather than from the monument itself. His 
frequent use of mirrors suggests Saint Pol-Roux. a poet considered by the Surrealists as one 
of the precursors, who wrote of the poet as possessing the magical powers of a Merlin who 
can change a world of innumerable objects into wonders by the use of an inner mirror: "I 
acquired, then, a fabulous mirror that makes you see within". This enabled the poet to reach 
"the isle of the inside of my being." 15 

The theme for Cornell's show in 1955 at the Stable gallery was "Winter Night Skies", 
a series of constructions referring to the constellations Auriga. Andromeda and Cameleopar- 
dalis. While related to the earlier Hotels in both theme and structure, these works take as 
their departure an even more painterly and two-dimensional approach. The recent series of 
collages are a natural outgrowth of this direction toward the two-dimensional. They restate, in 
new terms, his earlier collages of the thirties, the series that he did for View magazine in the 
forties, and the use of collage over the years in many of his constructions. 



21 



In speaking of a frame for one of his collages, Cornell mentioned that he wanted 
a Victorian frame to ''take it out of this time*'. Indeed, the frame of each construction is 
considered in relation to its contents. The idea of the box as a frame establishes an aware- 
ness of the frontality of the images and, in this sense, the work enters the domain of painting. 
The frames themselves, with their carefully missing corners, the over-all attention to the 
surface of the box. and the very real existence of the objects contained within, re-situate the 
work within the context of the sculptural. His space is the illusionistic space of a painter, 
re-created in three-dimensional terms. One thinks of painters, particularly Vermeer, in rela- 
tion to Cornell. It is this ability to maintain a dialectical tension between the painterly and the 
sculptural that is unique to his work. 

All of his objects are as carefully considered as his frames and many of them are 
reworked, altering their original condition— glass is usually tinted; nails, cork balls, drift- 
wood, and toy blocks are painted, as are maps and charts ; old print from books, which often 
covers the exposed surfaces of his boxes, is usually stained in tints of blue, green or brown. 
Tenderness and despair, poignancy and loneliness are locked into each compartment, chang- 
ing within each box and from box to box. Fantasy and architectural constructivism exist 
side by side in a world where knowledge alternates with the innocent wonder of a child. The 
slightest scrap of paper sets off an endless chain of associations, both emotional and visual, 
and a paper parrot brings to life a hotel lobby full of sounds and movement, sumptuous 
wallpaper, and brass cages filled with brilliant birds. His work is deeply personal and 
ultimately elusive, never divulging the mystery of its existence. 



>OTES 



1. Marcel Jean. The History of Surrealist Painting, New York, Grove Press, 1960, p. 219. 

2. Text. Copley Galleries, Beverly Hills, September 28. 1948. Joseph Cornell: Objects. 

3. Anna Balakian. Surrealism: The Road to the Absolute, New York, The Noonday Press, 1959, p. 115. 

4. Ibid, p. 117. 

5. Marcel Jean. op. cit., p. 227. 

6. Ibid, p. 243. 

7. Julien Levy. Surrealism, New York, The Black Sun Press, 1936, p. 22. 

8. Howard Griffin. "'Auriga, Andromeda. Cameleopardalis", Art News, New York, vol. 86, 
no. 8, December 1957, p. 63. 

9. View, New York, Series 1. nos. 9-10. 1942, p. 3. 

10. Marcel Jean. op. cit.. p. 53. 

11. Text. Hugo Gallery, New York, December 1946. Portraits of Women: Constructions 
and Arrangements by Joseph Cornell. 

12. "Americana Fantastica", View, New York, Series 2, no. 4, January 1943, p. 11. 

13. Robert Motherwell. "Notes on Mondrian and Chirico", VVV, New York, no. 1, June 1942, pp. 59-60. 

14. T.B.H. [Thomas B. Hess]. Review of exhibition at the Egan Gallery, Art News, New York, 
vol. 48, no. 9, January 1950, p. 45. 

15. Anna Balakian. op. cit., p. 41. 



22 



WORKS l\ THE EXHIBITION 



^UNTITLED. 1931. 
Collage. 4V2 x 5%". 
Lent by Richard Feigen Gallery. New York. 

UNTITLED. 1933. 

Object, % x \ l A" (diameter). 

Lent by Richard Feigen Gallery, New York. 

UNTITLED, c. 1933. 

Object. 1 x 2%" (diameter). 

Lent by Richard Feigen Gallery. New York. 

UNTITLED, c. 1933. 

Object, 2 1 /4 x 2" (diameter). 

Lent by Richard Feigen Gallery, New York. 

BLACK HUNTER. 1939. 

Construction, 11% x 8 x 2%". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 

*SOAP BUBBLE SET. 1939. 
Construction, 14 x 9 x 2%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 

VARIETE DE MINERALOGIE. 1939. 

Construction, 9% x 14 Vi x 2". 

Collection James Merrill, Stonington, Connecticut. 

MEMOIRES INEDITS DE MADAME LA 

COMTESSE DE G. c. 1939. 

Construction, 2 x 4%" (diameter). 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Feigen, New York. 

FRANCESCA DE RIMINI. 1940. 
Construction, 14% x 10^ x 2%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 

*L'EGYPT DE MLLE. CLEO DE MERODE: COURS 
ELEMENTAIRE D'HISTOIRE NATURELLE. 1940. 
Construction, 1V\ x 10% x 2%". 
Private collection. 

UNTITLED (RED SANDBOX) . c. 1940. 

Construction, 4% x 10% x 2%". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Feigen, New York. 



'MEDICI SLOT MACHINE. 1942. 
Construction, 15 % x 12 x 4%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis, New York. 

A PANTRY BALLET FOR JACQUES OFFENBACH. 

December 1942. 

Construction, 10% x 14 x 4". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis, New York. 

* PHARMACY. 1943. 
Construction, 15 *A x 12 x 3%". 
Collection Mrs. Marcel Duchamp. New York. 

:: FOR THE SYLPHIDE LUCILLE GRAHAM. 1945. 
Construction, 4% x 4% x Wz". 
Collection University of St. Thomas, 
Jermayne MacAgy Collection, Houston. 

SHADOW BOX. 1945. 

Construction, lO 1 ^ x lS 1 /^ x 2". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Howard Barnstone, Houston. 

* MUSEUM. 1945-47. 
Construction. 8% x 7 x 2Va". 
Collection University of St. Thomas, 
Jermayne MacAgy Collection. Houston. 

A SWAN LAKE FOR TAMARA TOUMANOVA. 1946. 

Construction, 9% x 13 x 4". 
Private collection. 

PINK PALACE. 1946. 

Construction, 10 x 15 x 3%". 

Collection Sandy M. Campbell, New York. 

^MULTIPLE CUBES. 1946-48. 
Construction. 14 x 10% x 2Y4". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 

ENCRUSTED CLOWN 
(SOUVENIRS FOR SINGLETON). 1948. 
Construction, 17% x 11% x 4 ¥4". 
Lent by the artist. 

LA FAVORITE. 1948. 

Construction, 10 x 8% x 4%". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 



23 



'SOAP BUBBLE SET. 1948. 
Construction, 9 x 13 x 3%". 
Collection Mrs. de Menocal Simpson, New York. 

'NOUVEAUX CONTES DE FEES 
(POISON BOX), c. 1948. 
Construction, 12% x 10% x 5%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 

: DESERTED PERCH. 1949. 
Construction, 16 % x 13 x 4". 
Collection Jeanne Reynal, New York. 

GARDEN. 1949. 

Construction, 3% x 7%" (diameter). 
Collection Bernard Pfriem, New York. 

THE CRYSTAL PALACE. 1949. 
Construction, 18 x 11% x 3%". 
Collection Parker Tyler, New York. 

FORGOTTEN GAME. c. 1949. 

Construction, 21 x 15% x 4". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 

SANDBOX, c. 1949. 
Construction, 11 x 8 x 3%". 
Collection Jeanne Reynal, New York. 

WEATHER PROPHET, c. 1949. 
Construction, 18% x 11 x 5%". 
Lent by the artist. 

*COCKATOO: KEEPSAKE PARAKEET. 1949-1953. 
Construction, 20% x 12 x 5". 
Collection Donald Windham, New York. 

GRANDE HOTEL SEMIRAMIS. 1950. 

Construction, 18 x 12 x 4". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Allan Frumkin, New York. 



SOAP BUBBLE SET. 1950. 

Construction, 9% x 14% x 3%". 

Collection Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Alpers, Los Angeles. 

AVIARY, c. 1950. 

Construction, 12 x 10 x 5%". 

Collection Robert L. Isaacson, New York. 

YELLOW CHAMBER. 1950-51. 

Construction, 17% x 12% x 4%". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 

HOTEL DE L'ETOILE. early 1950's. 
Construction, 17 x 8 ¥2 x 4". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Norman Borisoff, 
Encino, California. 

PARROT, early 1950's. 
Construction, 19 x 11% x 4%". 
Lent by the artist. 

^CARROUSEL. 1952. 
Construction, 19% x 13 x 6". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Morton G. Neumann, Chicago. 

*CHOCOLAT MENIER. 1952. 
Construction, 17 x 12 x 4%". 
Collection New York University Art Collection, New York. 

* DOVECOTE. 1952. 
Construction, 16% x 11% x 3%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Maremont, Chicago. 

*MEDICI PRINCESS. 1952. 
Construction, 14 x 11 x 4". 
Collection Margot Stewart, New York. 

MEDICI PRINCE, c. 1952. 
Construction, 14 x 11 x 4". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Shapiro, 
Oak Park, Illinois. 



OBSERVATORY. 1950. 

Construction, 18 x 11% x 5%". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 



MEDICI PRINCESS, c. 1952. 
Construction, 14% x 11 x 5". 
Collection Jean Frumkin, New York. 



24 



SAND BOX. c. 1952. 

Construction, 14 x 8% x %". 

Collection H. Marc Moyens. Alexandria. Virginia. 

-PAVILION. 1953. 
Construction, 19 x 12 x 6%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Ferber, New York. 

HOTEL DU NORD. c. 1953. 

Construction, 19 x 13% x S 1 /^". 

Collection Whitney Museum of American Art, 

New York. 

A PARROT FOR JUAN GRIS. 1953-54. 
Construction, 17% x 12% x4%". 
Lent by the artist. 

* HOTEL BON PORT (ANN IN MEMORY) . 1954. 
Construction. 13 x 10% x 3%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman. Chicago. 

*HOTELDEL'EUROPE: 
OLGA CARINI AGUZZI. c. 1954. 
Construction, 17 x 11 x 4". 
Collection Mrs. Eleanor Ward, New York. 

HOTEL. 1955. 

Construction, 17% x 10V2 x 5%". 

Lent by the artist. 

MOND-OBERFLACHE. 1955. 
Construction, 17 x 15% x 2%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Maremont, Chicago. 

BEBE. mid 1950's. 
Construction. 14% x 9% x 2%". 
Lent by the artist. 

BIRD, mid 1950's. 
Construction, 13% x 9% x4%". 
Lent by the artist. 

BOX WITH WINDOWS, mid 1950's. 
Construction, 18% x 12 x 4%". 
Lent by the artist. 



DISCARDED DESCARTES, mid 1950's. 
Construction, 15 x 11 x 2%". 
Lent by the artist. 

DOVECOTE-AMERICAN GOTHIC, mid 1950's. 
Construction, 17% x 11% x2%". 
Lent by the artist. 

MELISANDE. mid 1950"s. 
Construction, 18% x 12 x 6". 
Lent by the artist. 

OWL. mid 1950's. 

Construction, 11% x 8% x 5". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman, Chicago. 

PORTRAIT, mid 1950's. 
Construction, 15% x 12 x 3%". 
Lent by the artist. 

*HOMAGE TO BLERIOT. 1956. 
Construction. 18% x 11% x 4%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman. Chicago. 

SAND FOUNTAIN. 1956. 

Construction, 11 x 8 x 4". 

Collection Mrs. Eleanor Ward, New York. 

VIA PARMIGIANINO (FOR ALLEGRA i. 1956. 
Construction, 12% x 8% x 3%". 
Lent by the artist. 

*SUN BOX. c. 1956. 
Construction, 10% x 15% x 3%". 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Alvin S. Lane, Riverdale, 
New York. 

*HOTEL DE L"E'tOILE. c. 1956-57. 
Construction, I8V2 x 14 x 7%". 
Collection Mrs. Eleanor Ward. New York. 

*LA BOULE D'OR. 1957. 
Construction, 15% x 10% x 4". 
Private collection. 



25 



SUZY'S ROOM. 1957. 
Construction, 17% x 10% x 4%". 
Lent by The Pace Gallery, New York. 

-SUITE DE LA LONGITUDE, c. 1957. 
Construction, 13% x 19% x 4%". 
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection. 

LUNAR LEVEL NO. 1. 1958. 
Construction, 9 x 12 x 3%". 
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection. 

TRADE WINDS, c. 1958. 

Construction, 14% x 16 x 4". 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. David M. Solinger, New York 

HOTEL DU CHARIOT D'OR. late 1950's. 
Construction, 14 x 9 x 3%". 
Private collection. 

RATTLE AND MUSIC BOX. late 1950's. 
Construction, 7% x 10% x 3%". 
Collection University of St. Thomas, 
Jermayne MacAgy Collection, Houston. 

SAND BOX. late 1950's. 
Construction, 13% x 9% x 2%". 
Collection Jon N. Streep, Amsterdam. 

SAND BOX. late 1950's. 
Construction, 15% x 8% x 2%". 
Collection Jon N. Streep, Amsterdam. 

*SAND FOUNTAIN, late 1950's. 
Construction, 10% x 8 x 3%" '. 
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection. 

SPACE OBJECT BOX. late 1950's. 
Construction, 11% x 17% x 5%". 
Lent by the artist. 

^UNTITLED, c. 1960. 
Construction, 9% x 15 x 3%". 
Private collection. 

FIGUREHEAD. 1960's. 
Construction, 10% x 17% x 5". 
Lent by the artist. 



INTERPLANETARY NAVIGATION. 1964. 
Collage and watercolor, 11% x 8%". 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Walter N. Pharr. 

THE STORM THAT NEVER CAME. 1964. 
Collage, 11% x8%". 
Lent by the artist. 

CHERUBIM SWITCH. 1965. 
Collage, 8% x 12%". 
Lent by the artist. 

GERALDINE FARRAR— "IN REMBERANCE". 1965. 
Collage, 8% x 11%". 
Lent by the artist. 

MOZART-CASSIOPEIA. 1965. 
Collage, 11% x 8% ". 

Lent by the artist. 

ANDRE BRETON. 1966. 
Collage, 11 VixSV*". 
Lent by the artist. 

ICE. 1966. 

Collage, 11% x8%". 

Lent by the artist. 

THE SMILE IN THE GIFT SHOP. 1966. 
Drawing, 9% x 7%". 
Lent by the artist. 

UNTITLED. 1966. 

Collage (with original drawing by Robert Cornell 

c. 1935-39), 11% x8%". 

Lent by the artist. 

SPACE BOX. c. 1966. 
Construction, 10% x 15% x 4%". 
Lent by the artist. 

CARROUSEL. 1967. 
Collage, 11% x8%". 
Lent by the artist. 



26 




Medici Slot Machine. 1942. 



27 




Medici Princess. 1952. 



28 




Untitled. 1931. 



29 




Soap Bubble Set. 1939. 



30 




L'Egypte de Mile. Cleo de Merode: Cours Elementaire D'Histoire Aaturelle. 1940. 



31 




m I 





For the Sylphide Lucille Graham. 1945. 



32 




Pharmacy. 1943. 



33 





Museum. 1945-47. 



34 




Multiple Cubes. 1946-48. 



35 




Nouveaux Contes de Fees. (Poison Box) . c. 1948. 



36 




Soap Bubble Set. 1948. 



37 




Deserted Perch. 1949. 



38 







Dovecote. 1952. 



39 




, ..... 

HOCOt. 



♦ • • • 




1 -W,K 




Chocolat Menier. 1952. 



40 




Carrousel. 1952. 



41 




Pavilion. 1953. 



42 




Hotel de UEurope: Olga Carini Aguzzi. c. 1954. 



43 



II 

1 


1 


1 


1 

1 


J J " 

1 





JiitWii 

GRAND 

HOTEL FONTAINE 



mm r mmmwm 



;enseur hydrauli 
200cha»br£s et salons 



t*« tarns. ~T*i 



.p««%fe-T* 



4P< 



i BON P0P1 



tfo£e/ 5on Port (Ann in Memory). 1954. 



44 




Homage to Bleriot. 1956. 



45 




Sand Fountain, c. 1956. 



46 




Sun Box. c. 1956. 



47 




Suite de la Longitude, c. 1957. 



48 




Hotel <le I'Etoile. c. 1956-57. 



49 




La Boule D'Or. 1957. 



50 




Untitled, c. 1960. 



51 




Interplanetary Navigation. 1964. 



52 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



BOOKS 



breton, andre. What is Surrealism? London, Faber and 

Faber Limited, 1936. 
levy, julien. Surrealism, New York, The Black Sun Press, 

1936, "M. Phot", (Scenario) by Joseph Cornell, pp. 



breton, andre. Dictionrtaire Abrege du Surrealisme, 

Paris. Galerie Beaux Arts. 1938, ill. p. 70. 
JANis, Sidney. Abstract and Surrealist Art in America, 

New York, Reynal and Hitchcock, 1944, p. 106. 
breton, andre. Le Surrealisme et la peinture, New York, 

Brentano's, 1945, pp. 101-102. 
baur, John j. H. Revolution and Tradition in Modern 

American Art, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 

1951. p. 31, ill. no. 20. 
Edwards, HUGH. ed. Surrealism and its Affinities; The 

Mary Reynolds Collection, Chicago. The Art Institute 

of Chicago, 1956, p. 26. 
hunter, sam. Modern American Painting and Sculpture, 

New York, Dell Publishing Co., Inc., Laurel Edition, 

1959, p. 184. 
seuphor. michel. La Sculpture de ce Siecle, Neuchatel. 

Editions du Griffon, 1959, p. 252. 
goldwater, Robert. "Joseph Cornell", in Dictionary of 

Modern Sculpture, ed. Robert Maillard, New York, 

Tudor Publishing Co.. 1960. pp. 64-65. 
jean, marcel. The History of Surrealist Painting, New 

York, Grove Press, 1960, pp. 260. 273, 289, 307, 313, 

314, 317, 348, 349. 
read, Herbert. A Concise History of Modern Sculpture, 

New York, Frederick A. Praeger, 1964, p. 264. 
green, samuel m. American Art: A Historical Survey, 

New York, The Ronald Press Co., 1966. pp. 611-643. 
Metro, International Directory of Contemporary Art, 

Milan. Editoriale Metro, 1964, n.p. 



PERIODI4 AL* 



53 



, View, New York, Series 1, nos. 9-10, December 

1941-January 1942, p. 3. 
, View, New York, Series 2, no. 1, April 1942, 



p. 23. 

"Americana Fantastica", View, New York, Series 2, no. 4, 
January 1943, (throughout). 

motherwell, Robert. "Preface to a Joseph Cornell Ex- 
hibition". A statement on Cornell for a proposed 
catalogue for a Joseph Cornell exhibition held at the 
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, July 12-August 30, 
1953. Text was never published. 

Recorded conversations of artists with Belle Krasne. De- 
sign Quarterly, Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, no. 
30, 1954, pp. 9-23, ill. p. 12. 

griffin, Howard. "Auriga, Andromeda, Cameleopardia", 
Art News, New York, vol. 56, no. 8, December 1957, 
pp. 24-27, 63-65. 

goossen, e. c. "The Plastic Poetry of Joseph Cornell", 
Art International, Zurich, vol. 3, no. 10, 1959-60, pp. 
37-40. 

butler, Barbara. "New York Fall 1961", Quadrum, Brus- 
sels, no. 12, 1961, pp. 133-140. 

"Museum of Modern Art, New York: Art of Assemblage", 
Das Kunstwerk, Baden-Baden, vol. XV, nos. 5-6, 
November -December 1961, p. 63, ill. 

ashton, dore. "Art U.S.A. 1962", Studio, London, vol. 
163, no. 827, March 1962, pp. 84-94. 

nordland, gerald. "Show at the Ferus Gallery", Das 
Kunstwerk, Baden-Baden, vol. XVI, nos. 5-6, Novem- 
ber-December 1962, p. 67. 

coplans, john. "Notes on the Nature of Joseph Cornell", 
Artjorum, San Francisco, vol. 1, no. 8, February 1963, 
pp. 27-29. 

hess, T. B. "Steel mistletoe: the Whitney's exhibition of 
110 sculptures", Art News, New York, vol. 61, no. 10, 
February 1963, p. 56. 

ashton, dore. "New York Letter", Das Kunstwerk, Baden- 
Baden, vol. XVI, no. 10, April 1963, p. 32 (review of 
Cornell's constructions and collages at the Whitney 
Annual) . 

hopps, Walter. "Boxes", Art International, Lugano, vol. 
VIII, no. 2, March 1964, pp. 38-41. 



henning, E. B. "Language of Art", Cleveland Museum 

Bulletin, Cleveland, no. 51, November 1964, pp. 219- 

221. 
raynor, v. "Exhibition at the Stone Gallery", Arts, New 

York, vol. 39, no. 6, March 1965, p. 53. 
waldman, D. "Cornell: the compass of boxing", Art News, 

New York, vol. 64, no. 1, March 1965, pp. 42-45. 
Johnson, ellen h. "Arcadia Enclosed: the Boxes of 

Joseph Cornell", Arts, New York, vol. 39, no. 10, 

September-October 1965, pp. 35-37. 
cortesi, Alexandra, "Joseph Cornell", Artjorum, Los 

Angeles, vol. 4, no. 8, April 1966, pp. 27-31. 
JOHNSON, e. h., "Loan Exhibition of Cornell Boxes", 

Oberlin College Bulletin, 23, Oberlin, Ohio, no. 3, 

Spring 1966, pp. 127-131. 
porter, fairfield, "Joseph Cornell", Art and Literature, 

Paris, no. 8, Spring 1966, pp. 120-130. 
"Artists: The Compulsive Cabinetmaker", Time Maga- 
zine, New York, July 8, 1966, pp. 56-57. 
hess, thomas B. "Eccentric Propositions", Art News 

Annual XXXII, New York, 1966, pp. 9-27. 



54 



ONE MAN EXHIBITIONS 



GROI'P EXHIBITIONS 



julien levy gallery, New York, December 6-31, 1939, 
Exhibition of Objects by Joseph Cornell. Text by 
Parker Tyler. 

julien levy gallery, New York, December 10, 1940, Ex- 
hibition of Objects by Joseph Cornell. 

hugo gallery, New York, December 1946, Portraits of 
Women; Constructions and Arrangements by Joseph 
Cornell. Various comments and texts. 

Copley galleries, Beverly Hills, September 28. 1948, 
Joseph Cornell; Objects. 

egan gallery, New York, December 1949, Aviary by 
Joseph Cornell. Text by Donald Windham. 

egan gallery, New York, December 1950, Night Songs 
and other New Work by Joseph Cornell. 

egan gallery, New York, February 10-March 10, 1953, 
Night Voyage by Joseph Cornell. 

allan frumkin gallery, Chicago, April 10-May 7, 1953, 
Joseph Cornell, Ten Years of His Art. 

stable gallery, New York, December 12, 1955, Winter 
Night Skies by Joseph Cornell. 

wittenborn, New York, November 1-15, 1956. Portrait of 
Ondine. 

stable gallery, New York, December 2-30, 1957, Joseph 
Cornell— Selected Works. 

the new gallery, Bennington College, Bennington, Ver- 
mont, November 20-December 15. 1959. Bonitas Solsti- 
talis— selected works by Joseph Cornell and An Ex- 
ploration of the Colombier. 

ferus gallery, Los Angeles, December 10, 1962, Joseph 
Cornell. 

new york university art collection, Loeb Student 
Center, New York, December 3-18, 1963, Boxes and 
Collages. 

the j. l. Hudson gallery, Detroit, through October 30, 

1965, Joseph Cornell. 

Robert schoelkopf gallery, New York, April 26-May 14, 

1966, Joseph Cornell. 

pasadena art museum, Pasadena, California, January 9- 
February 11, 1967, Joseph Cornell Exhibition. Text by 
Fairfield Porter. (A revision of article from Art and 
Literature, Spring, 1966). 



julien levy gallery, New York, January 9-29, 1932, Sur- 
realist Group Shoiv. 

julien levy gallery, New York, November 26-December 
30, 1932, Minutae, Glass-Bells, Shadoiv Boxes, Coups 
d'Oeil, Jouets Surrealistes. 

museum of modern art, New York, December 1936, Fan- 
tastic Art, Dada and Surrealism. Text by Alfred H. 
Barr. 

galerie beaux arts, Paris, January-February, 1938, Ex- 
position International du Surrealisme. Organized by 
Andre Breton and Paul Eluard. 

julien levy gallery, New York, December 1940, Surreal- 
ist Group Show. 

art of this century, New York, December 1942, Objects 
by Joseph Cornell, Box-Valise by Marcel Duchamp, 
Bottles by Lawrence Vail. 

denver art museum, Denver, February 8-March 12, 1944, 
Abstract and Surrealist Art in the United States. 
Texts by g.l.m.m. and Sidney Janis. Travelled to 
Seattle Art Museum, March 26-April 23; Santa Bar- 
bara Museum of Art, May 7- June 10; Cincinnati Art 
Museum, June-July. 

Whitney museum of American art, New York, April 9- 
May 29. 1953, 1953 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary 
American Sculpture, Watercolors and Draivings. 

whitney museum of American art, New York, March 17- 
April 17, 1954, 1954 Annual Exhibition of Contempo- 
rary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Draivings. 

whitney museum of American art, New York, Novem- 
ber 14, 1956-January 6, 1957, 1956 Annual Exhibition 
of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and 
Draivings. 

whitney museum of American art, New York, November 
20, 1957-January 12, 1958. 1957 Annual Exhibition of 
Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and 
Drawings. 

the art institute of Chicago, Chicago, January 17-March 
3. 1957, 62nd American Exhibition. Text by Frederick 
A. Sweet. 

contemporary arts museum, Houston, January 9-Feb- 
ruary 16, 1958, The Disquieting Muse: Surrealism. 



55 



whitney museum of American art, New York, November 
19, 1958-January 4, 1959, 1958 Annual Exhibition of 
American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings. 
department of fine arts, Carnegie Institute, December 
5, 1958-February 8, 1959, The 1958 Pittsburgh Bicen- 
tennial International Exhibition of Contemporary 
Painting and Sculpture. Text by Gordon Bailey 
Washburn. 

American federation of arts, New York, January 12- 
February 6, 1959, Art and the Found Object. Travelled 
to Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 
February 22-March 15; Cranbrook Academy of Art, 
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, April 8-28; Arts Club of 
Chicago, May 20-June 20; University of Notre Dame, 
July 1-21 ; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, September 
27-October 18; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New 
York, November 4-24; Brandeis University, Waltham, 
Massachusetts, December 15-January 15, 1960. 

d'arcy galleries, New York, November 28, 1960-January 
14, 1961, Surrealist Intrusion in the Enchanters Do- 
main, International Surrealist Exhibition. 

whitney museum of American art, New York, December 
7, 1960-January 22, 1961, Annual Exhibition 1960 Con- 
temporary Sculpture and Drawings. 

the museum of modern art, New York, October 2-Novem- 
ber 12, 1961, The Art of Assemblage. Text by William 
C. Seitz. Travelled to the Dallas Museum for Con- 
temporary Arts, January 9-February 11, 1962; San 
Francisco Museum of Art, March 5-April 15, 1962. 

dallas museum for contemporary arts, Dallas, Novem- 
ber 15-December 31, 1961, The Art that Broke the 
Looking Glass. Text by Douglas MacAgy. 

Seattle world's fair, Seattle, April 21-October 21, 1962, 
Art Since 1950. Text by Norman Davis and Sam 
Hunter. 

the solomon r. cuggenheim museum, New York, October 
3, 1962-January 6, 1963, Modern Sculpture from the 
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection. Text by H. H. Arnason. 

whitney museum of American art, New York, December 
12, 1962-February 3, 1963, Annual Exhibition 1962 
Contemporary Sculpture and Drawings. 



royal marks gallery, New York, November 25-Decem- 
ber 21, 1963, Much has Happened 1910-1959. Text by 
Dore Ashton. 

rose fried gallery, New York, January 11-February 15, 
1964, Modern Masters. 

dwan gallery, Los Angeles, February 2-29, 1964, Boxes. 
Text by Walter Hopps. 

the art institute of Chicago, Chicago, February 28- 
April 12, 1964, 67th American Exhibition. Texts by 
John Maxon and James Speyer. 

martha jackson gallery, New York, September 18- 
October 15, 1964, New Acquisitions. 

whitney museum of American art, New York, December 
9, 1964-January 31, 1965, Annual Exhibition 1964 Con- 
temporary American Sculpture. 

musee rodin, Paris, 1965, Exhibition Etats-Unis, Sculp- 
ture de XX Siecle. Texts by Cecile Goldscheider and 
Rene d'Harnoncourt. 

Robert schoelkopf gallery, New York, January 4-29, 
1966, Robert Cornell: Memorial Exhibition, Drawings 
by Robert Cornell, Collages by Joseph Cornell. 

whitney museum of American art, New York, December 
16, 1966-February 5, 1967, Annual Exhibition 1966 
Contemporary Sculpture and Prints. 



THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM 



STAFF 



Director 

Secretary 



Thomas M. Messer 
Elizabeth Gwin Vestner 



Curator 
Librarian 
Research Felloiv 



Louise Averill Svendsen 
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Conservation 
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Orrin Riley and Saul Fuerstein 
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PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDITS 



E. Irwin Blomstrann, p. 13 bottom 

Ferdinand Boesch, p. 50 

Geoffrey Clements, p. 30 

Hickey and Robertson, pp. 31, 33 

Robert Mates, pp. 13 top and center, 18, 29, 32, 37, 45, 46, 51 

Eric Pollitzer, p. 28 

Nathan Rabin, p. 39 

John D. Schiff, pp. 34, 35, 42, 44, 48 

Charles Swedlund, p. 43 

Taylor and Dull, p. 49 



Exhibition 67/2 May 1967— June 1967 

2,000 copies of this catalogue 

designed by Herbert Matter 

have been printed by Sterlip Press 

in April 1967 

for the Trustees of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 

on the occasion of the exhibition 

"Joseph Cornell" 



THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM 



1071 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK 10028